wednesday 03 June 2020
Sts Charles Lwanga and his companions (1885/7)
Sts Charles Lwanga and his companions became the first martyrs of black Africa under Ugandan king Mwanga. They were executed for being Christians, for rebuking the king for his debauchery and for murdering an Anglican missionary and for “praying from a book,”. They died between 1885 and 1887
Entrance Antiphon: Wis 3: 6-7, 9
As gold in the furnace, the Lord put his chosen to the test; as sacrificial offerings, he took them to himself; and in due time they will be honoured, and grace and peace will be with the elect of God.
O God, who have made the blood of Martyrs the seed of Christians, mercifully grant that the field which is your Church, watered by the blood shed by Saints Charles Lwanga and his companions, may be fertile and always yield you an abundant harvest. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
First reading: 2 Timothy 1:1-3,6-12
From Paul, appointed by God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus in his design to promise life in Christ Jesus; to Timothy, dear child of mine, wishing you grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Christ Jesus our Lord. Night and day I thank God, keeping my conscience clear and remembering my duty to him as my ancestors did, and always I remember you in my prayers. That is why I am reminding you now to fan into a flame the gift that God gave you when I laid my hands on you. God’s gift was not a spirit of timidity, but the Spirit of power, and love, and self-control. So you are never to be ashamed of witnessing to the Lord, or ashamed of me for being his prisoner; but with me, bear the hardships for the sake of the Good News, relying on the power of God who has saved us and called us to be holy – not because of anything we ourselves have done but for his own purpose and by his own grace. This grace had already been granted to us, in Christ Jesus, before the beginning of time, but it has only been revealed by the Appearing of our saviour Christ Jesus. He abolished death, and he has proclaimed life and immortality through the Good News; and I have been named its herald, its apostle and its teacher. It is only on account of this that I am experiencing fresh hardships here now; but I have not lost confidence, because I know who it is that I have put my trust in, and I have no doubt at all that he is able to take care of all that I have entrusted to him until that Day.
R/ To you, O Lord, I lift up my eyes.
- To you have I lifted up my eyes, you who dwell in the heavens; my eyes, like the eyes of slaves on the hand of their lords.
- Like the eyes of a servant on the hand of her mistress, so our eyes are on the Lord our God till he show us his mercy.
Gospel Acclamation : Jn 17:17
Alleluia, alleluia! Your word is truth, O Lord: consecrate us in the truth. Alleluia!
Gospel: Mark 12:18-27
Some Sadducees – who deny that there is a resurrection – came to him and they put this question to him, ‘Master, we have it from Moses in writing, if a man’s brother dies leaving a wife but no child, the man must marry the widow to raise up children for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first married a wife and then died leaving no children. The second married the widow, and he too died leaving no children; with the third it was the same, and none of the seven left any children. Last of all the woman herself died. Now at the resurrection, when they rise again, whose wife will she be, since she had been married to all seven?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Is not the reason why you go wrong, that you understand neither the scriptures nor the power of God? For when they rise from the dead, men and women do not marry; no, they are like the angels in heaven. Now about the dead rising again, have you never read in the Book of Moses, in the passage about the Bush, how God spoke to him and said: I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob? He is God, not of the dead, but of the living. You are very much mistaken.’
Prayer over the Offerings
We offer you sacrifice, O Lord, humbly praying that, as you granted the blessed Martyrs grace to die rather than sin, so you may bring us to minister at your altar in dedication to you alone. Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon: Ps 115: 15
How precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of his holy ones..
Prayer after Communion
We have received this divine Sacrament, O Lord, as we celebrate the victory of your holy Martyrs; may what helped them to endure torment, we pray, make us, in the face of trials, steadfast in faith and in charity. Through Christ our Lord.
The confrontation between Jesus and the authorities continues and today it is the turn of the Sadducees who come forward with a question about the resurrection. It is a controversial theme since the Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection, whereas the Pharisees did. The Sadducees were of the aristocratic elite of land owners and traders who only believed in written law, not oral law and did not accept faith in the Resurrection. For the Sadducees, the Messianic Kingdom was already present in the situation of wellbeing and comfort in which they were already living. In their views, God rewarded the good people with riches and punished the poor with suffering and pain. Thus, they try to ridicule faith in the Resurrection. The so-called law of the levirate obliged the widow who had no children to marry the brother of the deceased husband in order to have descendants for their late brother. Jesus’ reply shows that they did not understand either the Scriptures or the power of God. The condition of persons after death will be totally different from the present condition. The Sadducees imagined life in Heaven as life on earth.